Hello! I’m still alive.

Eating and indulging over the Christmas period

The subtlety of my eating over Christmas

Hands in the air – I have been atrociously, diabolically, nefariously inattentive to my blog over the last two weeks. My excuse? I have been busy indulging in mince pies, port, Champagne, mince pies, Pomerol, turkey, Indian wine, oh did I mention mince pies?

Fortunately for my waistline, the festive period has come to an end (although my Christmas tree is standing defiantly tall) which means normality and sobriety are gradually being restored.  Continue reading

“Wait, so there is no meat in mince pies?” (Part 3 of #FeelingFestive)

giphy (3) Last weekend I offered two of my friends – one of whom is a pescetarian, the other a vegetarian – some mince pies after dinner. Somewhat unpredictably, they both looked at me in horror and said, Shakira, why on earth would you offer us meat? What’s wrong with you?

They were even less amused when I doubled over in laughter. Once I had recovered, I clarified that, contrary to their belief, mince pies don’t actually contain meat. Continue reading

A mulled wine for contrarians (Part 2 of #FeelingFestive)

Fun fact about traditional mulled wine – you can make a couple of bottles in advance and they won’t spoil as the spices act as preservatives.

Useful to know – if you like mulled wine. Not so useful if you are one of those who find that it triggers a booze-induced semi-restful Christmas coma.


Going… going… gone.

If you are in the latter camp, you need not resign yourself to regular wine (the horror!) over the festive period. There’s an alternative…

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The perfect mulled wine (Part 1 of #FeelingFestive)


How it feels in London right now

This year, scientists uncovered an amazing revelation: contrary to prior belief, the human nose can detect one trillion distinct scents. If not more. Dogs still beat us, but we humans are doing pretty well.

To me, nothing quite smells like Christmas as mulled wine (glühwein in Germany, vin chaud in France). It has become as much a symbol of Christmas as tinsel, probably because it’s so damn cold this time of year that the notion of a hot and alcoholic drink makes the eyes of 50 million Brits light up like a Christmas tree.

You can buy it pre-prepared, but half the fun is in making it while shaking your booty to Mariah Carey’s All I want for Christmas is you”.

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Trading beer for wine at Oktoberfest


This counts as weight training, right?

For 99% of the Western population, the word “Oktoberfest” conjures an image of beer.

For those unfamiliar with the Bavarian festival, it is a 16-day beer-drinking, bratwurst-eating bonanza that takes place in Munich every year. Over six million beer lovers flock to Germany to participate in the festival, collectively consuming a staggering 1.8 million gallons of beer each September. (No, that isn’t a typo – Oktoberfest takes place in September. Honestly).

Although I am definitely not enough of a beer drinker to travel 600 miles for a pint, I did find myself donning a Bavarian hat for an Oktoberfest-themed brunch party last weekend.

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A futile attempt to resign from the role of ‘Chief Wine Selector’

I have failed in my objective.


I feel ya, sister

The whole reason I launched Grapeful – the inspiration behind the idea – was that I was fed up of choosing the wine at dinner. As a level 3 qualified wine nerd (whatever that means), I frequently found myself handed the wine list by friends. Choosing wine for a large group isn’t as easy as it sounds – you have to cater for all tastes and budgets, and you are inevitably in the firing line if there are any problems.

So I decided to launch an app to absolve myself from the position of ‘chief wine selector’. My logic was as follows: offer a man a wine and food pairing, and he’ll drink for a day; teach a man to pair food with wine, and he’ll drink for the rest of his life. Makes sense, right?


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